On Wheel of Fortune, an unfortunate contestant named Kevin was confronted with the board above, and had only to name the missing letter to collect his prize.
He guessed “K.”
1. It is fair to say that he had never heard of the Tennessee Williams drama, easily one of the top ten plays in the classic American theatrical canon.
2. Does this amazing gap in Kevin’s basic education prove that American schools are failing our children and society? No. It shouldn’t fill us with confidence, either.
3. What else does this mean Kevin has never heard of? “Stella!!!”? Brando? Elia Kazan? The House Un-American Activities Committee? Naming names? Guilt by association? “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”? “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’?
4. What does it say about U.S. society that someone this ignorant of basic culture feels confident going on a nationally televised game show? I think it suggests that not only are too many people ignorant and uneducated, they don’t even know how ignorant and uneducated they are. Worse yet, it may mean that such people don’t think that there is anything wrong with being ignorant and uneducated.
5. Though Kevin is being widely mocked on social media, I bet there are more adults who wouldn’t be able to solve the puzzle that we would like to think.
6. This is why I started a professional theater company dedicated to producing great American plays that theater companies didn’t produce any more. “A Streetcar Named Desire,” however, was on the list of plays so common, so frequently taught in schools and so well-known that we would never mount them.
[I’m still sick, by the way, and have been sleeping most of the day. This story made me sicker.]